National Championship LiveBlogPosted by rtmsf on April 7th, 2008
We kinda suck at this, but what the hell, it is the national title game after all. So here goes it…
Pregame – we kinda enjoyed Bill Self’s little pregame speech there. It wasn’t Vince Lombardi or even Norman Dale, but the point he made about tonight being a night the players will remember for the rest of their lives was a good one. We also enjoyed seeing the Memphis warmups stating “March is a Brotherhood” thing – first time we’ve seen those (apologies to MU fans everywhere). The KU fans are ready to explode – they’ve been waiting for tonight for twenty years. As an elite program, they need that validation another championship brings – whereas the Memphis fans want it. Fwiw, Memphis definitely looks looser through warmups.
18:15 – wow, who had Joey Dorsey at +1200 for the first basket prop?!?! Arthur was short on his first attempt and Rush missed a FT – are they tight? Sloppy so far – already four turnovers… KANSAS IS TIGHT.
15:36 – that stat CBS threw up is telling – these teams really are mirror images of each other. Another KU turnover, but Memphis isn’t looking much better on offense. Derrick Rose AND 1… Robinson is a great defender but he’s going to have his hands full tonight. Memphis is so far doing to KU on defense what KU did to UNC the other night – absolutely getting their hands on everything. Blocking a Rush three – are you kidding?
14:53 – KU down 9-5 isn’t too terrible yet; we think that they’ll settle down and start going inside soon. Packer takes credit for something he really hadn’t said yet (Collins to Kaun backscreen).
13:40 – 71% in the Tourney from the line is amazing for this team. Does that mean Shaq just needs to concentrate more also? Packer busily making up words – nondefensible.
12:17 – guess Billy meant the second one:
No results found for nondefensible.
12:05 – 2 on Taggart and 2 on Dozier – well, that was predictable. KU has recovered nicely from its opening nerves, going inside the last several possessions. That’s where they’ll win or lose this game.
9:42 – great kickout to Chalmers for a wide open 3. Memphis has to know they’re not going to win this game with their inside people. Rose and CDR have to get going. Right now Kansas looks in great shape.
9:11 – Saturday hero Aldrich comes in and immediately makes two mistakes. Lucky for him, Chalmers stole it back and got two. Big momentum-changer there.
7:50 – we loved Rose not going 1-on-4 there and finding the open Anderson for three. That’s maturity in a point guard. Another 3 for Dozier keeps it close.
7:22 – wow, Roy with the olive branch there. Guess he wants to be loved at both schools after all. Memphis with a nice 11-2 run here to stay in this game. This game is starting to have the earmark of being a fantastic one.
4:44 – CDR’s game reminds us a lot of Tayshaun Prince. It’s awkward, kinda ugly, but completely effective. Already with 13 pts, KU is going to have to figure out how to handle this guy.
3:50 – KU is hitting 60% and is still tied. That can’t be a great sign for Self at this point.
2:31 – not sure how that was a block on Dorsey there, but it means Dorsey has 2 to go along with his frontcourt mates. KU is much faster to the loose balls right now.
1:02 – before that foul, Arthur was playing great. 10/4 already for him. Packer’s point about their big men getting tired appears to be the case – KU almost has as many offensive rebounds (6) as Memphis does total rebounds (9) at this point. This is a key last minute and Calipari knows it – Memphis is playing tired and he doesn’t want to go into the locker room down 8 or even 10 after playing mostly even this half.
0:32 – a near turnover for Rose leading to a rushed brick – Rose doesn’t look comfortable, but we’re not buying the illness thing (gummy bears don’t make you that sick). We think Nantz is on to something with his comment that Sherron Collins has gotten into his head a little bit. Will he take the challenge in the second half?
Halftime – who had the under 146 tonight – that’s looking like a LOCK right now. Unless Derrick Rose takes over this second half, we’re not sure how Memphis can win this game given what we’ve seen thus far. Kansas can get points almost any time it wants by going inside – so long as the Jayhawks don’t forget to do that, they should be able to avoid any major scoring droughts. They had 8 turnovers, but at least half of those were in the first five minutes and were probably due to jitters. And they’re playing fantastic defense on everyone on Memphis, with the possible exception of CDR (5-8 for 13 pts). But CDR cannot beat Memphis by himself. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Rose. If he steps up his game in the second half, Memphis has a shot to win; without him playing to his abilities, however, this game is already over (h/t to Billy Packer). Still, we really like Kansas to win this game and the title (same as earlier today).
19:33 – Rose with a great move to start the half, leading to a dunk. He’s gonna have to do plenty of that. Quick three for Anderson – tie game. Chalmers FTs and Anderson And1… Memphis appears a lot more aggressive than Kansas right now.
15:15 – Now the Kansas D is swarming again, but here’s Rose with a lob to Dorsey to counter. Foul on Dorsey for his third. Kansas has to keep going inside on nearly every possession. If they do, they could have every Memphis big in foul trouble by the 8-min mark.
14:00 – As much as we’re harping on Kansas going inside, they’re only 1-7 from three so far. Packer noted that they didn’t shoot well from 3 in their losses this year. They’re going to have to hit a few (~4) of these looks to win this game. Wow, the rim was unkind to both teams on what appeared to be sure twos there.
11:35 – 0-2 for Anderson from the line – is this the close game where it finally bites Memphis? CDR with another one of those Tayshaun-esque one-handers. We love this kid. Rose with his first bucket of the second half… wow, these Ds are fantastic. There are no uncontested passes at either end.
9:31 – what kind of offense was that – KU ran the weave through six passes, and finally Chalmers stuck a 15-footer. Here comes Rose with his strength – another basket. KU misses another three – 1-8 isn’t going to get it done, Jayhawks.
8:08 – Kansas switches defense and immediately gives up an And1 to Dozier. Another brick from the line, though (now 4-7). Not sure we like this defensive strategy by Kansas here – CDR wasn’t killing them this half, so why change up the D? Now you give a guy like Rose open looks to start getting it going. This may have been a disastrous decision by Self. Can someone explain that???
6:19 – Rose is starting to show signs of feeling it. Kansas can’t seem to find the openings anymore. Another missed 3 from Collins – still only 1-9 from outside. KU is starting to look really tight offensively. Scoreboard watching? Why are they not going inside anymore???
5:10 – WOW – what a finish! Rose is taking over this game!!
3:57 – Sherron Collins with some brass ones on that move. And Rose throws one off the glass for three. Ridiculous. A 13-2 stretch led by Rose has effectively put Kansas away in this game. They already look defeated out there.
2:22 – Rose’s ridiculous shot was only a two, but somehow we knew that it was going in when he shot it. Wow, Rush babied that one when he should have dunked it. This team is TIGHT right now. We’re not sure they have enough left to make one more run. Self changing defenses again (1-2-2 zone), let’s see how this one works out. Rose very nearly hit another desperation long-range jumper there.
1:54 – KU is starting the fouling strategy (2-2 FTs). It’s probably too little too late here. KU just isn’t getting anything out of its offense, and hasn’t for about the last ten minutes. Arthur hit an 18-footer, which is not really what they needed there.
1:44 – HUGE steal and three for Kansas there. Only down four now. If the fouling strategy starts working, this could get interesting…
1:23 – 4-4 FTs for Memphis since the fouling strategy started. And Dorsey fouls out 25 feet from the basket on a hedge. Pretty stupid play, actually.
1:15 – Chalmers gets both, and CDR is fouled again. He MISSES. Interesting! Arthur down to 2… now they don’t have to foul….
44.0 – gotta believe Rose is the man here to make something happen. Shot clock different is 25 so KU will have plenty of time… VERY dangerous play there by Rose. What was Collins DOING there?!?!!?
14.0 – he misses BOTH and KU is killing themselves by not getting the rebound! Unbelievable! Then CDR slammed the ball to the ground – another extremely dangerous play – after the foul. Jumping back a bit, Packer was all over Memphis for not pulling the ball out on CDR’s drive, but we can’t believe that 5’11 Sherron Collins thought it was a good idea to go 1-on-3 against the Memphis shotblockers there.
10.8 – Memphis has missed FOUR in a row!!!!!!!
OT – What an amazing sequence there. Collins almost pulled a Trajan Langdon by dribbling himself into falling down, but he managed to just be awkward enough to give Chalmers an slight opening, where he drilled it fading slightly away. What an unbelievable finish! Last OT – 1997 and what, 1989 before that one??
4:21 – KU’s first lead since they effectively starting choking it away. Is Memphis feeling the pressure now? Sure looks like it. If KU wins this game, Memphis fans will never get over missing four of the last five FTs to give Kansas a sliver of hope.
3:38 – where has that been (lob dunk)?? Without Dorsey, Memphis must rely on offense from Rose, and instead Anderson bricks a three.
2:32 – After another inside score from KU, Calipari calls timeout and looks like a guy who just lost the national championship. KU has ALL the momentum here. Rose is going to have to try to use his talent to put this team on his shoulders, b/c they’re reeling right now.
1:48 – good stop there by Memphis. They’re not out of this game yet, but Rose is going to have to do something.
1:00 – two misses by KU and a putback followed by a leakout where it appeared that Brandon Rush’s knee gave out a little bit (scary), then an ENORMOUS three by CDR to cut it to one possession. Kansas is still in control of this game, because they’ll hit their FTs under pressure (we think).
45.1 – not sure why you foul Collins there. He’s a good FT shooter, and KU is stroking them (last 11 from the line). He got both with no problem whatsoever.
29.9 – hahahaha, as soon as we’re thinking it’s over, one of these teams does something completely stupid, like oh we dunno, slipping and falling out of bounds to give Memphis life.
12.8 – another miss by CDR, and now we’re starting to hear the haunting sounds of Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk… this is Kansas’ game to lose now. They make FTs and they’re the champs. Memphis’ lack of FT acumen makes them the chumps.
FINAL – Kansas is the 2008 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS – what an UNBELIEVABLE comeback thanks to the Memphis free throws! And Nantz gives us his obligatory “Rock, Chalk, Championship” phrase. Thanks, Jim. We don’t remember the F4 having fireworks before – or are all the Memphis fans erupting in random acts of gunfire?
Postgame – we’re not sure what to say here. This game reminded us a little bit of Arizona’s comeback against Kentucky in the last OT game in 1997, but we can’t remember a national championship game decided by four missed FTs in the final minute. Self won this game with his strategy of fouling at the end, but we still believe he made a mistake by changing up the defenses that were working in the mid-second half. For the two of you that were reading along, thanks for indulging us… More later…